Hemlock Creek/Long Branch Trails Cherokee National Forest

5:11 p.m. on February 4, 2014 (EST)
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howdy....

since tipi was wonderin why i dont post any trips...

 

here's a link to my latest trip along hemlock creek trail and long branch trail...

battery on phone died shortly after arriving at a campsite along long branch trail...

 

great weekend to be out as it was in the 60's on saturday...

 

http://rblr.co/A8Y1

 

there are some other trips on my page on ramblr....not sure exactly how to access it though..

 

kevin

 

 

6:01 p.m. on February 4, 2014 (EST)
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Welcome back to my neck of the woods.  I just finished the Long Branch trail from the top to the bottom (and way beyond) but haven't been on Hemlock Creek in a while.


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This pic of yours shows the section of Hemlock Creek where the trail turns right off the ridge (from the top) and falls down a very steep rocky wash.  This I believe is the very top of the wash and you're looking back to the ridge where you came.


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Here's the very same place but looking down into the steep creek wash.  Very steep!

It wasn't that long ago that this trail was completely unmaintained and hellish to hike. 


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Here's what the upper part of Hemlock Creek trail used to look like---the trail goes over the two blowdowns and straight up the ridge thru a hellish zone.

BTW, you can access your stuff here---

http://www.ramblr.com/web/mymap/trip/5584#

9:51 p.m. on February 4, 2014 (EST)
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This pic of yours shows the section of Hemlock Creek where the trail turns right off the ridge (from the top) and falls down a very steep rocky wash.  This I believe is the very top of the wash and you're looking back to the ridge where you came.

ha......it was more like 3/4 of the way down the hill....

i came down from the skyway after parking at the eagle gap parking lot.....

hemlock creek trail was really easy to follow---not many blowdowns, and blazes along trees along with a fairly clear path made for an easy walk...

coming down the ridge, take the hard right going down the wash....

where it became really steep, and patches of ice since that wash surrounded by two large hills...

it became so steep and with the leaves (although dry), it was slick coming down the hill....i ended up scooting down two places on my ass....

the trails in that section of the national forest have been on my mind for a while now......been using the skelton guidebook as a reference of what is in that area...

those 6 trails will make for 3 nice loops with me knocking out one of them with this trip.....hopefully another one this weekend...

i was kinda hoping to camp along hemlock creek near the bottom but kinda got in a rut and just kept hiking....

then did the road walk over to long branch and after reading the description, knew that i would have to camp near bottom for water access....

found this killer little campsite (with fire ring as well) about a quarter of mile or so up from the road.....it was after the trail crossed the little stream and going up the hill....

looking down the hill to where the stream was---there was a nice flat area with fire ring, so i figured that would be my place for the night....

had plenty of wood to have a fire from 630 til 4 am.......

going up long branch---well, it was nice and cleared out, with someone cutting back the brush.......also, there was water pretty much all the way up it seemed.......or in enough places to get some if i was thirsty........

could see the skyway from the trail and not looking forward to the road walk back to my car....

popped out on skyway in a little bit of a mist......

hid the pack to make it easier of a walk up, and not much traffic along skyway....

overall, made for a nice first trip of the year....

8:11 a.m. on February 5, 2014 (EST)
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nice trip Kevin....I'm also not a fan of the road walking but the Skyway in spots at least has really good views. If they had left that route as a mule trail/wagon path the area would be much different huh? And not near so easy to access, so I guess there would be some negatives.

8:23 a.m. on February 5, 2014 (EST)
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Luckily these consistently low temps have kept the "Scarway" fairly empty of traffic and definitely empty of the roaring motorcycles which do the most noise pollution-damage.  Sadly, the Scarway abuts the Citico and Slickrock and Hemlock/Long Branch and all the rest, so a backpacker during the 3 seasons will get bombarded by guys on motorcycles who refuse to use quiet mufflers. 

Hiking the Scarway then to connect different trails is not fun unless you have headphones and blast Ozzy Osbourne into your brain.

10:16 a.m. on February 5, 2014 (EST)
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cant handle ozzy especially blasting...

 

so luckily i dont wear headphones while hiking but i'd rather prefer some good ole grateful dead and/or allman brothers....

July 31, 2014
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